Betty Bennett evokes a bygone era when "territory" and "name" bands--each with its own "girl singer"--criscrossed the country in Ladies Who Sing With the Band. The author's career intersected with many of the icons of jazz and popular music, among them Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Georgie Auld, Claude Thornhill, Charlie Ventura, Benny Goodman, and Charlie Barnet. Bennett's anecdotes about these personalities enlighten and entertain, as does her entirely unselfconscious discussion of her marriage to Andre Previn and her relationship with her husband, guitar great Mundell Lowe. The book deals with several issues that transcend music. The entertainment industry--particularly the jazz world--was an early era of black/white professional and personal interaction. Moreover, the traveling big band represented a unique instance of women in an all-male workplace. Bennett confronts these issues of race and gender in a refreshingly forthright manner.
The book provides a glimpse of what attracted so many to the era when swing was king... Bennett was a survivor, and her book testifies to her perseverance and her admiration for a genre, that was once a key part of popular culture.--All Music Guide To Jazz